Under the inspired direction of Kenney Ogilvie, the current production by Mosman Musical Society is the darkly satirical URINETOWN.
The Zenith Theatre has been transformed into a darkly menacing city, where a terrible water shortage, caused by a 20-year drought, has led to a government-enforced ban on private toilets in a world wracked by ecological disaster. The citizens are required to use public amenities, all managed by a single malevolent company, the Urine Good Company (UGC) that avariciously profits, led by Caldwell Cladwell, by charging admission for one of humanity’s most basic needs. It is supported by a corrupt government and police force.
Amongst the struggling people, who have run out of patience, money and hope, our hero Bobby Strong, one of our valiant star crossed lovers, decides that he’s had enough, and plans a revolution to lead them all to freedom! Does he survive? Can he make the town great again?
Ichabod loses his sister, and on the journey to find her, Faces his biggest fear – water.
Assisted by an senile knight who refuses to take off his armour, an all knowing barge captain and a bucket-wielding water-thief, Ichabod traverses swamps, ravines and crosses bridges and cities in his quest for his sister. The tale follows Ichabod’s journey to find what he’s really looking for – love, hope and above all, courage. Continue reading THE TALE OF ICHABOD SCRUBB @ THE BLOOD MOON THEATRE→
Meow. Aurilophiles rejoice! The Concourse at Chatswood at the moment is alive with cats – oozing rivers of them, exploring, crawling , stretching, entwining around your feet…
Yes, this is the much loved Andrew Lloyd Webber musical based on TS Elliot’s poems in a very impressive staging. The cast perform with power, passion and commitment. Cameron Boxall and Kira Nelson’s choreography is based on and generally sticks to the original; snazzy, tight, and demanding.
The production featured a HUGE cast of cats (and kittens. We saw the red cast opening night). At a couple of points – especially for the mega production numbers – the stage was overcrowded, with cast even overflowing onto the side of the stage.
Packemin’s version, directed by Craig Stewart, is a vibrant production, subtly nuanced with delicately, joyous scenes contrasted with poignant, heart breaking ones.
The deceptively simple scaffolding set with its use of projections (a fabulous moon, trains for Skimbleshanks, a delightful major Asian harbour for Growltiger and Griddlebone) is not the standard dumpster site but is extremely effective.
The thrilling, atmospheric lighting by James Wallis was splendid.
The orchestra under the baton of maestros Peter Hayward and Alex Ash, hidden from the public eye, was in fine form. There was no acknowledgement at the curtain call- a little disappointing.
Audrey Currie’s multi layered, variously textured costumes were very exciting.
Munkustrap, who In some ways acts as the show’s narrator, was excellently portrayed by the lean, lithe Noah Gill Mullins,
Simon Price (yes, the Red Wiggle) is in excellent form as enchanting Old Deuteronomy, leader of the Jellicle cats, and showcases a fabulous voice.
Josh Ridge as the charismatic, ultra sexy Rum Tum Tugger, has glorious fun prowling and hogging the stage and making all his teen cat followers swoon and scream. (I was pleased that this version returned to the old ‘standard’ version of his song and not the rap version that was performed in the recent version of Cats at the Capitol.
Skimbleshanks, the fussy Railway Cat, was delightfully portrayed by Daniel WIjngaarden.
The Cockney thieving team of Rumpleteazer and Mungojerrie was enchantingly portrayed by Laura Bunting and Jamie Smith in an acrobatic semi musical act.
Our Grizabella, in tattered purple satin, a red gash for a mouth and streaked eyes, was given a striking, poignant performance by Harmony Lovegrove. Her signature song Memory was sung wistfully and brought the house down.
The Puccini tribute, Growltiger’s Last Stand, was thrillingly performed, and Growltiger, with his piratical eye patch, was wonderfully played by Cameron Barjaktarevic- Hayward.
The enchanting minx Griddlebonee was delightfully played by Kirralee Elliott (Is she as innocent and lovely as she seems, or is she in fact in league with Growltiger’s enemies?).
The battle of the Pekes and The Pollicles was much fun, as was Jennyanydots’ Beetle Tattoo as led by Lana Domeney.
Magical Mister Mistoffelees, with his starry, spangly black jacket, was terrifically played by Noah Godsell.
The sultry trio of Jellylorm, (Katia van Hilten), Demeter(Giorgia Kennedy) and Bomburalina (Chloe Malek) was splendid, especially in the hot jazz/torch song number, the breathless Macavity (purr).
Overall, a splendid, delightful version that captivates and enchants.
Running time two hours thirty minutes including one interval.
CATS is playing at the Concourse at Chatswood till the 28th January 2017.
Above image : Sam Moran and Bella Thomas as The Cat in the Hat and Jojo. Featured image- Ensemble members from Birdie Productions. Production photography by Grant Leslie Photography.
Birdie Productions brings professional talent and performers from open auditions to South West Sydney in this excitingly refreshed version of SEUSSICAL. The resulting ensemble is a cast with immense energy, range of experience and an attractive skill set. The depicted Seuss characters as assembled in the musical by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Aherns here showcase Dr Seuss’ genius whilst preserving his keen commentary on good and bad behaviour.
The audience follows Horton the Elephant’s quest to survive mockery, help friends and save the small inhabitants of Whoville as they drift to possible peril on a speck of dust. A scrim at the start of the musical confronts the audience with a quote which motivates us to accept the responsibility to help others. Newspaper clippings about children in detention then appear, providing a sobering reminder about need in our contemporary life. Continue reading BIRDIE PRODUCTIONS PRESENT SEUSSICAL @ BRYAN BROWN THEATRE BANKSTOWN→
I was changing her nappy and happily singing away when this little emphatic one syllable contraction was directed at me. I ignored it, thinking that couldn’t be an intentional word, let alone the very first proper one coming out of my little Cabbage Patch look alike child and continued to sing as I pinned – we used cloth nappies back then.
When she repeated the word, looking straight at me I was certain; even my 6 month-old was telling me; I am vocally challenged, meaning I can’t sing very well at all.
Apart from the recognition that ‘Don’t’ was a word I must have used regularly with her, my now 29year old daughter is still blunt and forthcoming, but that is another story.
Being vocally challenged means I totally appreciate anyone who can sing and someone who takes me on an instructional theatrical journey about singers and songs has me hooked from the start, particularly when said very talented singer expresses an insecurity about their voice from the get go and had been told by his high school choir master to be an accountant!
Seth Drury is a baritone. Apparently no one cares about the workhorse baritones of the singing world while the tenors get all the glory. He learnt he was a baritone when asked to sing “Tonight, Tonight” a tone higher and cracked on the final high note.
Fortunately, Seth ignored his high school teacher and as for being a baritone he is in good company with others like Hugh Jackman, Michael Buble, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Sammy Davis Jnr to name a few.
BRING BACK THE BARITONE is a self devised work with Seth, accompanied by his brother Anyerin Drury on guitar and backing vocals and Callum Close on keyboard, taking us through a bit of a history of the baritone, peppering the narrative with extracts from and complete songs. It’s fun and informative.
For example, I learnt that The Golden Age of Broadway was when the baritone was celebrated and he won the ladies hearts. Gilbert and Sullivan and Rogers and Hammerstein made good use of the baritone and one of the greatest baritone anthems is Old man River from Showboat.
The 60’s and Frankie Valle was the nemesis of the baritone, but Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, both deep lovers of gospel, kept the flag flying.
He continues his 65 minute tour up to the present, alternating between humour and caricature and deep, soulful engagement with the songs. Seth’s stripped back and pure rendition of How Great Thou Art is beautiful.
He also establishes an easy relationship with the audience and welcomes us into his journey. It is a very pleasant, informative and entertaining interlude.
Future performances of BRING BACK THE BARITONE are yet to be scheduled but Seth’s other work, UNMASKING PRINCE CHARMING will be presented as part of The Sydney Fringe 15th-17th of Sept at The Knox Street Bar. Tickets may be booked through the fringe website.
As for my musical prowess, I am now learning piano. I have no talent for that either, but just because you are no good at something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a go.
Seth Drury’s concert BRING BACK THE BARITONE played the Civic Theatre, Newcastle on Sunday 29th May, 2016.
The Old 505 Theatre has been invaded by the Space Cats! This wickedly delightful, joyously subversive musical is cheekily puuurrrfect and is playing as part of this years’ Mardi Gras festival.
This show can best be described as a sort of spoof of B- Grade sci – fi horror movies blended with off-the–planet musicals such as Little Shop of Horrors and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and is played out in a spitfire yet elegant way.
Leika the first canine in space- here reimagined as a male- somehow crash lands on Cat Mars which is ruled by a mad, imperious Cat Queen (an exiled Egyptian cat goddess) who has three rather unwilling subjects– her slaves Bruno and Mars and Bin Cat who is in prison awaiting execution. Continue reading SPACE CATS @ OLD 505 THEATRE→
THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA, playing a short season at the Reginald is … well … bellissima! The cast of students from the Sydney Uni Musical Theatre Ensemble (MUSE), a fine Company now in its 13th year of theatre making, have really done their home work to make an entertaining, ultimately satisfying night at the theatre. There are couple of great central performances, some fine ensemble work, an excellent orchestra and an evident depth of enjoyment in presenting this unique and unusual musical.
WICKED is a prequel to The Wizard Of Oz and the plot unfolds in the years leading to Dorothy’s arrival. It is the tale of two unlikely friends: Glinda the Good, a role reprised by the outstanding Lucy Durack, and Elphaba, the future Wicked Witch of the West, played by the exceptional Jemma Rix. They form a bond in College which leads to different destinies. Glinda is popular and beautiful while misunderstood Elphaba was “born different”, that is, she is green. One friend is seduced by power whilst the other remains true to herself.
The musical begins with the citizens of Oz celebrating the death of the Wicked Witch as Glinda arrives. The remainder of the plot forms an extended flashback of the lives of the two women. Continue reading Wicked→
Sheer theatrical delight , this is a superb production of this rarely seen show.
I saw the brilliant London version ( it’s also been on Broadway ) and it has been performed in Melbourne with Geoffrey Rush as Man in Chair , but so far as I am aware Sydney has not had a chance to be enchanted by it previously .
Under the scintillating direction of Jay James-Moody , the superb ensemble glows .With its clever staging and terrific cast the production sparkles and delights. With its infectious rhythms , all-singing, all-dancing superb cast wonderful Squabbalogic have done it again !.
For musical theatre fans it is witty distillation of history and an analysis of theatre itself. The show is a loving parody of 1920’s musicals purporting to be a record of a November 1928 musical that comes alive in the’ Man in Chair’s enthusiastic imagination. Continue reading THE DROWSY CHAPERONE→